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Bikepacking Pulaski to Damascus

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 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A fantastic route through a seldom-traveled section of Southern Virginia.


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Map Key

122.9

Miles

197.8

KM

70%

Singletrack

4,548' 1,386 m

High

1,879' 573 m

Low

9,173' 2,796 m

Up

9,179' 2,798 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Commonly Bikepacked

Overview

Using the New River Trail, the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, and Iron Mountain Trail as the spine of this route, this is a fairly straightforward point-to-point bikepacking route. A good mix of rail trail, forest road, doubletrack, and singletrack keeps things interesting.

Need to Know

There is plenty of water along the way in the form of steams and springs, so bring a way to treat water accordingly. On the New River Trail, there are several places to get water from a faucet. As noted above, there is only one spot that is a easy resupply and that is in the small community of Speedwell.

Also, pretty much all these trails are open to equestrians so act accordingly and give them the right of way. Some of these areas see more use than others.

Description

The ride starts in Pulaski, Virginia. There is parking at the trailhead of the New River Trail or at Pulaski Bikes in the old, remodeled train station. From the bikeshop, using the town trail to the New River Trail, it is about 2 miles. The New River Trail is a rail trail and is a relaxing ride through the Virginia countryside and its railroad heritage.

Around the 33-35 mile mark, depending on where you started, the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail (VHHT) #337: New River Trail to Rt 94 begins off to the right. There is a small sign but it is easy to miss. From here, you'll be on and off of the VHHT for the next 50+ miles, only getting off for some paved and gravel reroutes around sections closed to bikes. There is one chance for resupply in the small community of Speedwell. Shown as part of the route here, you can descend Henley Hollow Trail #306 and ride pavement for 2 miles into Speedwell. There is a gas station that also has a small selection of sandwiches and breakfast biscuits.

From here, ride the road back up and rejoin the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail (VHHT) #337: FS16 to US21. Stay on the VHHT until you come to the Valley Divide Trail. Follow this until you come to Comers Creek Road, then Hurricane Campground Road (FSR #84A) to Iron Mountain Trail. Stay on Iron Mountain Trail until you come to Beech Grove Trail. Descend Beech Grove down to The Virginia Creeper trail. Follow the Creeper about 5 miles til you come to Damascus.

History & Background

Both the New River Trail and the Virginia Creeper are both rail trails. Many of the houses and towns along the way are old railroad buildings. The Iron Mountain Trail is an old section of Appalachian Trail that has since been rerouted. Evidence of the AT is still seen in several of the old shelters along the way.

Shared By:

Sean Wiggins with improvements by Luke Andraka

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Pulaski

#2358

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Pulaski

#80

in Virginia

#2,358

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Photos

Iron Mountain Trail ridge riding!
Aug 4, 2014 near Adwolf, VA
Sandy SingleTrack
Feb 20, 2018 near Atkins, VA
Meandering trail
Feb 20, 2018 near Atkins, VA
old log road section
Feb 20, 2018 near Atkins, VA
east end of trail.
Feb 20, 2018 near Atkins, VA
Small Rock Garden
Feb 20, 2018 near Atkins, VA

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May 22, 2019
Sean Wiggins
140mi